Japanese teahouse cum dessert parlour Hvala (meaning "thank you" in Croatian) is a jarring oxymoron - the preeminent motivation behind that rather sui generis, though incongruous name being founders Benmin Chai and Lynette Yong particularly yearned to reify their propinquitous affection for, gee, Croatia after previously holidaying there together. Hey, whatever floats their boat.

Kicked off in 2015 as yet another inchoate fad du jour dabbling with eggette parfaits (then called Hvala Waffle Bar) at 313@Somerset, this once verging on puerile crapshoot unwontedly grew a noodle midway, canned its erstwhile fandangled roster of entremets offered and reconvened almost from ground zero. Hence today's お茶-centric, multiple-store Hvala which appears having gotten into the groove, sizeable loyal following procured en attendant further playing testament.

Word to the wise - Hvala fanatically swears by automation; save for an actual human bringing food to your very table, everything else strictly equals DIY, so expect QR code menus, self-ordering terminals among other contrivances upon stepping through. Separately, do be mindful of a 60-minute time limit imposed during peak dining hours.

Hvala @ Ngee Ann City

What knocked our socks off:

The Matcha Petit stoked us up: vibrant, byzantine layered gâteau (finessed out of celestially fromagey matcha mousse) belting an epochal bittersweet that conflated well with crunchy pailleté feuilletine buttressing beneath. Antithetically, the Genmaicha Ice Blend (roasted brown rice + Ichibancha or first flush green tea) in all its antioxidant glory cued pleasant grassiness alongside nutty zest, whenceforth soothing loads.

Matcha Petit ($9.90) And Genmaicha Ice Blend ($8)

The portentous-looking Goma Mont Noir was golden too, what with some mellifluously lekker motley comprising chestnut purée, frangipane and goma cream being pirouetted atop one crisp ass pâte sablée. If you are a bona fide black sesame fan, this stroke of genius is absolutely not to be skipped.

Goma Mont Noir ($9.90)

Other item(s) sampled but turned out to be non-event(s):

Tsuki Matcha ($5.50)

Note: Prices subject to change without prior notice. Kindly clarify with restaurant before visiting or ordering.

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Score: 8.5/10


Editor's Note: Hvala has shuttered its operations at Chijmes and Beach Road.


Chijmes 111 Somerset Ngee Ann City 40 Craig Road, 267 Beach Road,
30 Victoria Street, 111 Somerset Road, 391 Orchard Road, Singapore 089678 Singapore 199545
#01-04/05 #01-10 #B2-28
Singapore 187996 Singapore 238164 Singapore 238872

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331 North Bridge Road,
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